Project Management

To Succeed, Be Human

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I don’t know how many project managers I have spoken to over the course of my career, but it’s a lot. I’ve seen a tremendous variety of different personalities, backgrounds, experience levels, approaches, skillsets and so on. But they’ve all had one thing in common: They’ve all been human. I’m prepared to bet good money that every PM you’ve come across has been human as well (AI is not, and will never be, a project manager).

Okay, stupid statement just to get your attention at the start of the article, right? Well, sort of. Here’s my point: When I have spoken with many of those PMs, they act in a way that I am absolutely certain is different to the way that they behave when they are in social situations, or when they had other roles in the organization. I understand that we all tend to be more relaxed around friends than in a work environment with colleagues, but there is often more to it than that.

I frequently get the sense that PMs are trying to be something that they’re not, that they’re trying to impress—or perhaps to prove to people (whoever those people are) that they are capable and competent. And in doing so, they lose some fundamental element of who they are as people—which in my mind undermines my confidence in them.

Removing the human from the PM
I recently spoke to a PM with around …

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"Truth comes out of error more readily than out of confusion."

- Francis Bacon